Annual road construction season gets underway

WINNIPEG – The City of Winnipeg’s annual road construction season is getting underway this spring and a road construction working group has been tasked with considering and recommending ways the City can improve the overall road construction process including greater utilization of 24/7 construction, Mayor Brian Bowman announced today.

“With the arrival of spring, road construction across our city is getting underway,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “Fixing our roads continues to be a key priority for me and many members of Council, and we need to continually look at ways to build better and smarter in order to deliver greater value to taxpayers.”

The City’s total investment in new regional and local road renewals this year from all funding sources is $86.4 million. This represents the lowest regional and local road renewal budget since 2014 and a significant decrease from last year’s $116 million budget, the largest in the City’s history. This decrease is due to the unilateral decision by the provincial government to not fully fund the final year of a five-year $250 million road funding commitment to the city that expired at the end of 2018.

The City’s investment in regional and local road renewal this year reflects the full value of the two percent increase in property taxes. It also marks the first year of a five-year accelerated regional roads investment program jointly funded by the government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba, and the City.

Mayor Bowman also announced the establishment of a road construction working group chaired by Councillor Matt Allard, Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works.

The working group has been tasked with providing advice and recommendations to the Mayor on how to:
• Improve the overall procurement, design, and road construction process;
• Extend the successful early tendering process for regional roads to include local roads;
• Improve communication with residents and businesses affected by road construction; and,
• Utilize 24/7 construction in a cost-effective way and other options to accelerate project construction, including a review of working hours and working days.

When planning  and scheduling road construction projects each year, the City already strives to reduce construction’s impact to traffic flow, businesses, and the general public.

To reduce the impact of construction, the City does permit some 24/7 construction when there is an identifiable benefit to the city and public. It is usually for tasks that need completing in succession and in short duration. The City also uses condensed or restricted construction schedules, and where appropriate includes accelerated completion incentives in construction contracts. The road construction working group will be examining ways to build on these efforts.

“I am pleased to lead this working group,” said Councillor Allard. “With less capital funding available from the province this year for road improvements, it’s even more important that we consider ways to improve the overall procurement and construction process as well as find ways to strengthen communication with residents and businesses that are affected by road construction work.”

Membership of the working group includes:
• Ron Hambley, President, Winnipeg Construction Association
• Brad Cook, Incoming President - Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Manitoba
• Jonathan Alward, Director, Canadian Federation of Independent Business
• Chris Lorenc, President-Manitoba Heavy Construction Association
• Felicia Wiltshire, Director of Customer Service & Communications, City of Winnipeg
• Jim Berezowsky, Director of Public Works, City of Winnipeg

A report from the road construction working group is expected within 60 days of its inaugural meeting scheduled later this week.

This year’s road renewal budget includes funding for 104 road projects totaling 139 lane kilometers and includes the following major reconstruction and rehabilitation projects:
• Empress Street - $2.5 million
• Garry Street/Notre Dame Street - $4.8 million
• St. James Street - $2 million
• Fermor Avenue - $17.4 million
• Ellice Avenue - $3.1 million
• Inkster Boulevard - $4.6 million
• Main Street - $6.5 million
• Roblin Boulevard - $4.9 million
• Corydon Avenue - $3.3 million
• Archibald Street - $1.23 million
• Watt Street - $1.25 million
• Memorial Boulevard - $2.6 million

During road construction season, motorists are encouraged to plan ahead, allow additional travel time, and to download and use Waze to find the fastest route. Waze is a free, real-time traffic and navigation app, allowing users to share and receive anonymous traffic information from the City's Transportation Management Centre (TMC) as well as other drivers. For road construction information, including lane closures on major streets and an interactive map of construction projects, see: City of Winnipeg – Road Construction.